If you want to make a difference in today’s politics… there’s something more important you can do than calling your Senator. There’s something more important you can do than joining a protest, or posting on Facebook, or certainly than arguing with your coworker about who’s right.
Yes, it sounds cliched and anti-climactic. Remember what Harry Potter thought when Dumbledore told him he had “power the Dark Lord knows not”- so what? But love is the one thing that can truly make a difference in a hate- and anger-filled situation.
“‘So, when the prophecy says that I’ll have ‘power the Dark Lord knows not,’ it just means — love?’ asked Harry, feeling a little let down.” -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
To be clear, I don’t think you should stop calling your representatives or protesting for your beliefs. I certainly don’t plan on stopping. But I can add more love into my life as well. When I meet someone whose beliefs are different than mine, I can love them anyway. Instead of holding a grudge and making comments behind their back, I can try to understand their viewpoint. And maybe it still doesn’t make sense to me- but I can still treat them as a human being no matter what.
This can be really difficult!
I have so much empathy for anyone trying this. Sometimes it means accepting that you aren’t always right, and sometimes it means re-evaluating your beliefs. Even if you still hold the same beliefs after an encounter, you might feel attacked, which is scary. This connection can have such an important effect, though, and it is how to people from different backgrounds to open their minds. In this case, the more difficult the conversation, the more worthwhile.
If I know someone who has been personally impacted by the Muslim Ban, or any of the other policies I don’t agree with, I can reach out to them and ask how their day has been. Make sure they know they’re not alone in this, and that there are people who care about them.
In a world where so many feel isolated and attacked by Donald Trump or by society, making connections and reaching out is of the utmost importance. This is the only way we can overcome the hatred that causes ideas like banning Muslims or other immigrants. And it’s something that all of us can do every day with our coworkers, our friends, and our families.
Now is the time to make a choice between dividing our country over hatred of minorities or uniting our country against this hatred. I choose to unite with those I know and love as well as those who I don’t know or don’t agree with. Most of all, I choose love.